The Rewards of Investment

Congratulations to Navajo Lake Marina in Navajo Dam, New Mexico, our 2017 large Marina of the Year. Jarrett Johnson operates the New Mexico State Parks facility on a 30-year lease through 2036. He has invested hugely into developing a boating resort center in the desert. It caters to boaters and tourists of all ages and experience levels, aiming to develop the next generation of boaters, starting at its bumper boats and splash pad.

A core group of staff has been at the marina long before Johnson owned it. He also invests heavily in his employee too, who can keep boats at a slip for free to save on weekday travel back and forth. Johnson also works hard to provide year-round employment at a fairly seasonal business. Navajo Lake Marina employees cross-train in many departments, and they wear many hats. The staff has a great rapport with the customers because they enjoy their jobs, and they are respected and appreciated at work, which goes a long way in developing someone’s career. Those marina employees aren’t just doing a job for you everyday. Management should be helping them develop life-long careers.

The story about Navajo Lake Marina hits on many important themes for our industry – breeding the next generation of boaters, creating waterfront communities, using technology to aid operation and new and creative amenities.

This issue also delves deeper into marina and boatyard facilities with our second annual Operations Survey, looking at infrastructure, dockage types and pricing structures, renovations, training and environmental practices. Thank you to everyone that answered the survey. We’ll have additional statistics available on our website. If you haven’t checked out our new website, you must! Visit We have more survey statistics to come, and if there’s something particular you’re looking for, just contact us.

This issue touches on some important safety issues – the risk of marina drownings and standards for ladders and life rings, insurance coverage for theft and damage, and how to train boaters on safety issues.

Soon we’ll start collecting ideas for The Docks Expo education schedule. We’re going back Music City Center at Nashville. We hope to see you there, and we’d love to hear your ideas on important topics and issues. For more information, see page 37 and 55, or visit